Friday, October 31, 2014
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I just sent off my personal skeeter abatement plan that I have implemented at my new home. Of course, I have not seen a mosquito in the yard and have not been bitten all summer. But you never know when the neighborhood could be preemptively sprayed. Jen Miller at the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides sent out a sample plan last week that anyone in the state can follow. She has run it by the Ada County Abatement officials, but it should apply in other counties as well. According to a new state law passed earlier this year, anyone can opt out of spraying if they follow a simple plan to abate mosquitioes on their own property. Ironically, the Legislature intended this new law to make it easier for some counties to spray. But it does contain opt out language that organic farmers requested. So I'm opting out. Here's my plan. I'll just add that even if it's in my abatement plan, I don't really intend to use bug spray. But if you come over to visit you are welcome to daub it anywhere you like. Oh, and feel free to steal the plan, customize her and send it in to WeedandPest@adaweb.net. If you live outside Ada County, send it to the proper mosquito abatement district.

Don’t Spray Me

I just sent off my personal skeeter abatement plan that I have implemented at my new home. Of course, I have not seen a mosquito in the yard and have not been bitten all summer. But you never know when the neighborhood could be preemptively sprayed.

Jen Miller at the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides sent out a sample plan last week that anyone in the state can follow. She has run it by the Ada County Abatement officials, but it should apply in other counties as well. According to a new state law passed earlier this year, anyone can opt out of spraying if they follow a simple plan to abate mosquitioes on their own property.

Ironically, the Legislature intended this new law to make it easier for some counties to spray. But it does contain opt out language that organic farmers requested. So I’m opting out. Here’s my plan. I’ll just add that even if it’s in my abatement plan, I don’t really intend to use bug spray. But if you come over to visit you are welcome to daub it anywhere you like.

Oh, and feel free to steal the plan, customize her and send it in to WeedandPest@adaweb.net. If you live outside Ada County, send it to the proper mosquito abatement district.

————————————

Dear Mosquito Abatement District Officials:

I am writing this no treatment request as described in Idaho Code 39-2804 item 10. Here is my mosquito control plan for [ADD YOUR ADDRESS, CITY AND ZIP CODE]. I will do the following to control mosquitoes in my area and protect my family’s health.

Description of land: [DESCRIBE YOUR LAND, SUCH AS A residential home on x acres with sprinkler and drip irrigation, bird bath and a water fountain.]

I/We Will Use the Following Mosquito Controls [INCLUDE THE APPROPRIATE ITEMS BELOW]:
1. Mosquito source reduction
a. I/We will schedule irrigation to prevent standing water in yard and will allow ground to dry adequately between watering.
b. I/We will walk property and remove vessels (buckets, toys, etc) that collect water.
c. I/We will maintain constant agitation and flow through water fountain to prevent standing water.
d. I/We will change water in bird bath at least every three to four days.
e. I/We will change water for pets in outdoor bowls daily.
f. I/We will clean rain gutters.

2. Personal protection
a. I/We will inspect window screens and repair or replace screens with holes.
b. I/We will wear long sleeves and long pants and/or use mosquito repellants when active in yard at dawn and dusk.

3. Mosquito predation
a. I/We will make a special effort to provide and maintain habitat for wildlife (birds, bats, frogs) that eat mosquitoes and mosquito larvae.

Thank you for your consideration of this request. Please respond that you have received this request and also notify me when my plan is approved.

Sincerely,
Name
Address
Phone

PS I added this line as well, toward the end: We would not like our property sprayed or anywhere in the vicinity of our property sprayed in order to protect our child and keep our garden free of toxins. And I don’t have a fountain or dog bowls, so I deleted those…

About Nathaniel Hoffman

Comments

  1. Tara says:

    Just for the record I recieved my first bite last night while mowing the lawn at dusk. It was on my middle finger, but I still strongly support the plan.

  2. Craig Moore says:

    Yesterday I discovered a dead crow in my yard. I saw it the day before acting odd. I called the public health department and they are coming to get it for testing. Mosquitos don’t know and don’t care about map grids where suppression efforts are used. Carrier species like the crow don’t either. Think of them as the refueling tankers for new outbreaks. I have no problem when people wish to risk their own health. But when people have neighbors, especially the elderly and medically fragile, I believe it’s important to think how best to effectively protect everyone in close proximity. If the disease were malaria or yellow fever and not West Nile would there be exceptions to suppression plans? Per 1000 people how many deaths or serous illness from WN are we will to accept in order to be avoid the spray in our yards?

  3. Jim Heffernan says:

    Just who is Craig Moore and who does he really work for??

  4. Craig Moore says:

    Jim, let me try and answer your question as I don’t know what wavelength you are on.

    Spiritually — We are all God’s children and work for Heaven on Earth Inc

    Philosophically — Who are any of us? What do any one of us matter? We work to receive affirmation of existence from Life Inc.

    Real World — I am my wife’s husband, my parent’s son, my brother’s brother, my children’s father, and friend to others. I work for all of them.

    Hope this helps. I am left wondering what the heck this has to do with Nathaniel’s column. By the way the health department picked up the crow and will test for West Nile and avian flu. The person said that I would NOT be notified of the results. Strange!

  5. Jim Heffernan says:

    Helps not Craig. Pretty worthless pap, actually. I have read some other of your comments posted on this site and they are equally offensive in personally attacking the writer. And honestly, I seriously doubt ‘your’ crow exists.

  6. Craig Moore says:

    Jim, for the life of me I don’t see how you think I have PERSONALLY attacked Nathaniel. Please explain. The crow was real and then it died. When something dies does it still exit? Jim if you have a complaint with anything I write meet me head on where you have your itch at the topic of irritation. Otherwise, just ignore it. If you can’t be more specific, I will just ignore you.

  7. Craig: The idea is to cut down on the number of mosquitoes, not only because they carry disease, but because they are annoying. If everyone can do that on their own property using effective and proven methods (see the Web site I linked to http://www.pesticide.org) there is no need to subject the entire populace to chemical agents. Agents which have not, to date, exterminated skeeters and may even exacerbate the problem. Agents about which the public knows very little.

    By removing standing water from my yard and killing the bugs where they lay, I am actually helping my neighbors.

    Sorry about your crow…

    -Xutos

  8. Jim Heffernan says:

    This part of your comment is a personal attack:

    “I have no problem when people wish to risk their own health. But when people have neighbors, especially the elderly and medically fragile, I believe it’s important to think how best to effectively protect everyone in close proximity.”

    Sanctimoniously, you just made Nathaniel’s decision to reduce or eliminate the need to use pesticides on his property a decision to put elders at risk.

    And Nathaniel makes an additional good point by example – be an active part of your environment, solving problems through natural solutions, rather than being a passive beneficiary of a cloud sprayer.

  9. Craig Moore says:

    Xutos, I applaud your efforts. Where I grew up on the parched prarie we would see clouds of skeeters at night when there was no visible signs of water anywhere. But there must have been somewhere. Where I live now there are natural springs and creeks and protected wetlands. Can’t do much about those breeding sources. In Africa they use to use pesticides for skeeters carrying malaria, yellow fever, and dengue fever. When they stopped after Silent Spring was published deaths accelerated for those diseases. Now African nations are once again using pesticides.

    Jim, you missed my point. If Xutos and all his neighbors opt out there will still be skeeters. My formative years on the dry prarie taught me this. In my opinion it takes a muti-prong approach. Limit the breeding environment, vaccinate animals where possible, and intelligent use of pesticides.

  10. Sara says:

    I love the idea that someone whats to be part of the solution, instead of setting back and letting the government solve it(which historically that part of my statement is questionable). Can I link this to an article on my blog.? I want more people in my neighborhood to realize what they can do to keep our homes from becoming part of the problem. People need to take an active role and it starts at home.

  11. Jonathan Weber says:

    Sara, sure, feel free to link to the article.

    Cheers,
    jw

    (editor in chief)

  12. bearbait says:

    We should all shed at least one tear for the more than 50 million people worldwide who have died of malaria since the DDT ban.

  13. Andrea says:

    I too recently submitted my own mosquito abatement plan. Prevention is easier and less costly than aeriel spraying.

    A couple of mosquito factoids from one who spent a summer working for vector control in my youth: mosquito larvae live in shallow, stagnant water; moving water is not a problem. Small fish can be stocked in ponds. The water in pet dishes, birdbaths and kiddie pools can be changed at least a couple times a week. There is also a bacterium which can be used during the early stages of larval life that is effective without harm to other aquatic life. The most troublesome areas I dealt with were swampy areas with small pockets of water, such as wet, muddy areas that livestock had been grazing (each hoofprint leaving a miniature breeding ground). This is not an issue in a residential neighborhood, nor does it need to be a problem at all in this climate with a little attention.

    While I appreciate Craig’s thoughtful concern for the elderly and infirm, I disagree with his conclusion. Poisoning the air is not a solution that benefits anyone– and especially not those with weaker immune systems (not to mention the effects on all creatures up through the foodchain).

    We do not know the long-term consequences of spraying, but we do know what we will not be able to kill every mosquito. Some people will still aquire the West Nile virus and some of those people will become sick. Common sense and prevention are not sexy, but they are the most effective tools we have.

  14. Craig Moore says:

    Here is the CDC website on WN: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm

  15. Hal Herring says:

    Just wash those garden vegetables, folks, and don’t worry bout nothin. We wouldn’t spray it if it hurt anything!

    They’s too many o them songbirds, anyway. An bugs? kill em all, das whut I say, hell with em!

    I think this was wrote by a old pointy head. Read too many books. Now he’s out there actually walkin around outside, dumpin out water and stuff. Idjit.

    Same kinda pointy heads outlawed ddt, too, remember? Tryin to save a ol bird or hawk or sumpin. Who needs them chikin killin sumbucks anyways? hell wit em, that’s whut I say.

    People come first. We oughta hose everbody down with malathion so they don’t git bit by ants. Put a little mirex on em.

    Yup, an next year, the feller from the chemical company says he’ll send me and the missus to Hiwahyer if we meet our product use quota. So all you pointy heads git outta the way! wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh!
    wahoo, look at them bugs gittin whuts comin to ‘em! If that ain’t gittin dominion I don’t know whut is!

  16. Craig Moore says:

    Hal, funny stuff. But I think I see a skeeter critter on your neck. Do you want me to apply the 30-30 Marlin spray and get that bugger off?

  17. Tom von Alten says:

    I lean to better living with less chemistry, and considered filing a personal abatement plan for our little west bench lot, although we’re not yet slated for spraying. If we were, how would they turn their spraying on and off? What’s the granularity of possible response? Can I trust all my neighbors to be as dilligent as I am?

    So I decided to trust the powers that be in this instance, and hope for the best. A knowledgeable source who I trust shared some information about the chemical at issue:

    “Naled (tradename Dibrome), the chemical that they use to control the mosquitoes is one of the main tools that we have to control lygus bugs in alfalfa seed. It is a great tool because we put it on in the evening and it has to be completely gone by the next morning when the bees wake up. We use 1 pint per acre in alfalfa seed. They only use a couple of ounces per acre in mosquito abatement. At an application rate of 1 pint per acre we consider Dibrome to be a very safe chemical. At an application rate of ounces per acre, probably not much to worry about.”

    Your exposure to emissions (tailpipe, wheel weights, brake debris) from those infernal combustion machines you drive is probably more of a threat to your well-being than the spraying, or WNV.

  18. There is some more info on Naled in a story I did last year for NewWest: http://www.newwest.net/index.php/main/article/aerial_mosquito_spraying_in_boise_practical_or_political/

    Though Naled is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for low dose aerial application to control mosquitoes, it has been found to make people and fish sick and is an extremely toxic chemical.

    A preliminary EPA review of Naled in 1995 found “significant potential to cause chronic effects in mammals, acute and chronic effects in aquatic organisms, and acute hazard to honey bees.”

    And a 2003 Centers for Disease Control report found that while the risk of acute illness from properly applied insecticides is low, 133 people were possibly sickened by them in nine states between 1999 and 2002.

    A growing list of municipalities are banning or curbing the use of aerial spraying for mosquitoes.

    -Xutos (more shaved than pointy)

  19. Tom von Alten says:

    Thanks for the reference. I read through the CDC report, and a couple of the EPA documents. They seem consistent with what my source told me, and strengthen my inference that the risk from proper application is reasonably low.

    I do appreciate what the counties have done to try to educate people to use integrated pest management strategies, and to use careful monitoring (traps) to respond with a minimal effective response on the chemical end of controls.

  20. Marion says:

    I can’t tell where anyone lives, so how many of you with your “personal abatement plans” actually live in mosquito prone areas and WNV outbreak areas? It seems a lot of folks who want to save the skeeters or anything else considered a pest do not have to actually deal with them on a personal basis, just tell others how easy it is to let them go.
    Wyoming has been one of the hardest hit states the last few years despite a severe ongoing drought. They spray in my area and I have a yard full of birds all of the time.

  21. Hal Herring says:

    Craig,
    Better use the old .375 H&H. Skeeters are tougher now than they were when we were little.

    Hal

  22. Hal Herring says:

    On second thought, maybe the skeeters are the same, and we americans are just a whole lot wimpier than we used to be.
    ooooooo, get the spray!!!!!

  23. Hal Herring says:

    An in the words of Stephen King, “If it’ll kill rats in the barn, it’ll kill Tom Cullen!!”

  24. Craig Moore says:

    Hal, do you want to lube up with some shave gel before the .375 straight razor leaves a nasty burn? I here tell Gillette is adding DEET to its lube.

  25. Craig Moore says:

    Tom Cullen? Only one of the panel is able “To Tell The Truth.”